Facebook and Twitter are both easy to use, informal and viral methods of communication that cost nothing. It is no wonder that civil society is one of the drivers of the popularity of these social networking tools. So, I started both a twitter and facebook account for MERLOTAfricaNetwork.
Note that the trend is to integrate these tools, to cross-pollinate information, for social marketing and awareness. For now, I just want to set them up so they are ready to use, and I want to invite discussion. Of course, the tools take a little management time to be effective, if anyone wants to help by contribute to 'tweating' news about MERLOTAfricaNet, or developing the FB group, let me know. Already on Twitter (the fastest virus of the viral networking tools) OERCommons and similar groups are following, despite the fact that I've only made a few tweats about the MAN awards.
MAN on Twitter is MERLOTAfricaNet http://www.twitter.com/MERLOTAfricaNet
MAN on Facebook is just called MERLOT Africa Network(MAN) and is at MERLOT Africa Network(MAN)
I set up a YouTube account in order to give some instructions and opportunity for people to use QuickCapture with webcam or upload a video from their computer for the PanAfrican Forum on OER and OA. Unfortunately my connection was not strong enough where I'm staying to make the introductory video work. However, the account for Youtube is there at http://www.youtube.com/user/panafricanforumopen
I used to worry about competition in that if you try to draw people to MERLOT voices here, for instance, you get similar subject matter somewhere else like Facebook (where there are more people than the population of Canada!!), so it's difficult. My philosophy is 'if you can't beat 'em join 'em'. Or alternatively to go to where people are. From networking in a larger but less cohesive space like Facebook, you can draw a smaller number of serious people into a space that is more purposeful, and that you have control over. So, my thinking is that, it is good to use a number of social networking tools, with a limit of course!n As a rule of thumb
, perhaps the limit is what you could count on your hands
For me in english North America it is - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and beyond that it is to use API based integration, RSS feeds from blogs to Facebook or to a website, perhaps look into OpenID. I use Drupal for websites, and it is possible for separate drupal sites to share a log-in, so that a person doesn't have to create account after account. You can also use OpenID for Drupal sites. It would be ideal to form global networks of common interest where one can sign up to numerous sites and networks by preference, by clicking on preferred accounts from a list, signing up all at once, and then use the same log-in. We will see a saturation of account-based user-generated websites, maybe already we have.
Anyway, just some thoughts on how to integrate communication tools.
all the best, from Dakar,